OBPlover wrote:his Hr/FB% was significantly higher in Kauffman stadium than it was on the road..contrary to your suggestion that Kauffman suppresses HRs.
While Kauffman may not suppress HRs more than his previous home in Tampa, it does suppress HRs more than many other parks. As I mentioned repeatedly in this thread, though, the key for Shields in 2013 was the difference between pitching regularly on the road in bandboxes like Camden Yards, Yankee Stadium, Rogers Centre, and Fenway and pitching regularly in the road parks in the AL Central.
Anyways, even if his HR% declines, his K/BB dipped, leading to his WHIP increasing, which increases the probability that the decline in HRs allowed will be offset by allowing those HR's with more men on base.
Despite whatever he may have lost from less strikeouts, the predictable HR% decline (due to weaker competition and less HR-prone offensive parks) proved to be the difference in keeping his ERA down and his FIP at the same level.
There was definitely a dropoff in the quality of opposition, but as I pointed out this wasn't as expected as you suggest. Baltimore and Toronto actually had pretty mediocre offenses last year. Detroit and Cleveland were expected to improve offensively this year.
It was pretty expected. The AL East projected to be the strongest division in baseball in 2013 (which it was) with the Red Sox and Jays improving themselves significantly offensively and the Orioles already having a very good young core in place and the AL Central projected to be quite poor as usual (which it also was, although the Indians did improve more than many thought).
Minnesota and Chicago fell faster than anyone could have anticipated.
Anyone apparently didn't include me. It wasn't too difficult to anticipate that a White Sox team that was tanking, whose best offensive players from 2012 included the 37 year old Paul Konerko, the ever-inconsistent Alex Rios, and a fast declining Adam Dunn, would be poor offensively. As far as the Twins went, they hadn't been particularly good offensively since 2010 when Justin Morneau and Jim Thome could still hit. Since then, it's basically been Joe Mauer and a bunch of crap (and it's not like they made any significant efforts in the offseason to rectify that situation). Their poor performance considering all those factors was no surprise either.
Certainly nobody would have or could have reasonably made the argument last March that the AL Central would be a better offensive division than the East.
The Royals were 20th in UZR and the Rays were 6th. Expecting the difference in defense not to have an impact was unrealistic.
If you read my post from December that I quoted, you'll note that I wrote that I expected a difference but that the difference would likely not be deleterious enough to make up for the benefits from ballpark and competition (due to the Royals actually having a very good defensive base in place and the potential for significant improvement in this area). As it turned out, I was as right on the mark in this regard as anything from last winter's thread. The Royals defense even improved enough to be a huge positive for Shields and not a dropoff at all from his days in Tampa. All the better for him (and me, I suppose, with my projection for him).
I'm not entirely sure why you continue to engage in an argument that you were never part of (and an argument that already essentially reached its expected conclusion when Shields turned in the great season that he did due to the predicted elements of weaker competition/ballpark factors/plus defense). But it is giving me a flashback of the good old days here at the Cafe, so I suppose I have to thank you for that.